Many homeowners are switching over to pellet stoves as a healthier and more environmentally-friendly method of heating their homes. Although pellet stoves pose less risk than other organic fuel burners, considerable dangers still exist. Luckily, most of the dangers of a pellet stove are not very lethal. Preventing the majority of pellet stove dangers requires advanced planning.
Pellet stoves use wood chips, seeds and other organic material for fuel instead of just wood logs, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). However, a pellet stove needs an electrical component to feed the organic matter into the hopper, and thus requires electricity. Because pellet stoves generate so little pollution, the EPA does not need to regulate them.
The types of danger from pellet stoves come more from local environmental and human factors than health risks from the stove itself, although pellet stoves do contain some possible health hazards. Pellet stoves produce almost no smoke and soot and contain ventilation systems for what little smoke they do produce, according to home improvement guru Bob Vila.
Like all appliances that use electricity, a pellet stove runs the risk of electrocuting the homeowner. In addition, a stove can start a fire when placed too close to walls or combustible material. When power outages occur, most pellet stoves are rendered useless and leave the house without a source of heat unless the owner has a backup system.
As of 2005, over 600,000 homes relied on pellet fuel stoves, according to Jane Gitlin in "Fire Places: A Practical Design." This number should continue to grow as the federal government offers tax incentives for homeowners to switch to alternative heating, such as pellet stoves.
A pellet stove owner can mitigate the effects of power outages by keeping a battery backup system handy, or an entire backup heating system, according to Gitlin. Vila recommends stocking up on pellet fuel, because it poses no danger when stored around the house. When thinking about a pellet stove purchase, check to make sure that suppliers exist within a reasonable distance.